The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) has awarded Community Transformation Grants ranging from $50,000 to $75,000 to eight community collaboratives to fund initiatives that will serve the critical needs of young children and families in their areas.
The 2021 Community Transformation Grants were awarded to: Communities in Schools Milledgeville Baldwin County, Cook County Family Connection, Georgia Organics, Greenbriar Children’s Center, Gwinnett Building Babies’ Brains, Quality Care for Children, United Way of Central Georgia, and University of West Georgia College of Education Early Learning Center.
The Grant recipients were selected from 34 partnership groups that participated in a rigorous
application process. The applicants, representing communities across the state, first submitted Letters of Interest (LOIs) detailing their experience and capabilities, the identified community need, and the project they planned to develop in response to that need. Each LOI was reviewed and scored, with the 20 projects receiving the highest scores invited to submit formal applications.
Focusing on families with young children in Bibb, Crawford, Macon, and Peach counties, United Way of Central Georgia proposes to increase access to high-quality early education programs for dual language learners living in rural areas of Georgia. Funding for this grant will support hiring a bilingual, full-time Parent Educator and contracting with a First Steps Screener to expand the ability to identify, engage, and enroll families from the Hispanic community. Additionally, the project will engage a diverse group of partners deeply connected to Hispanic residents to increase screening and home visitation services, as well as document systemic cultural barriers, identify cultural competency education needs, and define strategies for system improvement.
The Community Transformation Grants are funded from the three-year, $11.2 million Preschool Development Renewal Grant (PDG) that Georgia was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education in January 2020. The federal grant allows Georgia to design and implement activities to help ensure that children ages birth to 5 in the state have access to high-quality early childhood programs and services.
- Increasing access to high-quality early education programs for infants and toddlers (ages six weeks to 36 months)
- Increasing access to high-quality early education programs for dual language learners (ages six weeks up to kindergarten entry)
- Increasing access to high-quality early education programs for children living in rural areas of Georgia
- Supporting children with persistent challenging behaviors to reduce suspensions and expulsions from early learning programs
- Reducing food insecurity for children ages birth to 5 and their families
- Coordinating early learning services for children in foster care or protective services
- Providing mental health services for the birth-to-5 population and their caregivers
- Providing enhanced services to young children related to the early identification and treatment of developmental delays and disabilities
- Developing a system of care to support children ages birth to 5 and their families who are experiencing homelessness